I think it’s time we give a little credit where credit is due, our COI Outdoor Program is the actual best thing ever. They send us off on wild adventures into the great unknown for a small and college-kid capable fee, and bring us back safe and sound to boot. Case in point, the first outing we’ve had this year, whitewater rafting along the beautiful Payette River. The whole day was perfect; we slathered on sunscreen and loaded onto the buses at noon, and spent the two-hour drive catching up and napping (but mostly napping) alongside all of the friends we haven’t seen all summer long. After we had all stumbled out of the bus and gotten suited up with goofy looking life jackets and water shoes, groups of six were assigned to rafts and raft guides. My group was placed in the capable hands of the undoubtedly best raft guide ever, Stephanie, who encouraged us to relentlessly terrorize our fellow rafters with splashing wars, and who also let us take turns “riding the bull”.
For those of you less experienced future rafters, riding the bull means climbing onto the front of the raft and sitting with your legs hanging off and over the water while you go over level three rapids. This picture to the right is proof of my newfound bull-riding skills. It’s very good fun and we only had one person fall out the whole time, and he was totally fine after we fished him out and… patted his back a little bit.
It was gorgeous outside, clear blue skies as far as the eyes could see and warm sunshine that contrasted beautifully with the bracingly cold, some would say glacially freezing, water. Everyone in my raft took turns climbing to the front and bravely daring the bumpy rapids and jumping into the river whenever we came across a calm place to swim. Having personally spent a lot of time by rivers this summer, I felt incredibly lucky to have another chance to just relax and let the current pull me along for a little while. When the school year really starts hitting in full swing, I know there won’t be a ton of moments where everything is calm and you can appreciate having a moment all to yourself and your thoughts, so having this opportunity to be out in nature with a bunch of awesome COI students was a great experience. It was all fresh air and fast moving water and the last laugh of summer. After a few hours of shared moments between heart pounding excitement and deep calm, we all dragged ourselves out of the river and up to the buses that awaited us to take us home. I honestly can’t think of a better way to say goodbye to the lazy days of summertime and hello to a new year at The College of Idaho.